In Uganda, “Everybody Wins!”

Posted by Jerry P. Lanier
December 1, 2010
Children Participate in a World AIDS Day Event in Uganda

About the Author: Jerry P. Lanier is the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda.

Today, I was in the central region of Uganda to host the third of our seven World AIDS Day events. These large-scale public events are spread out across the country and are attracting crowds of 4,000 to 6,000 people. The event is an HIV and AIDS quiz show called “Everybody Wins!” The idea is to deliver the facts about HIV, AIDS, malaria, nutrition, medical male circumcision, and other health topics in a fun way. The quiz show allows the audience to be engaged while learning valuable information to keep themselves healthy and safe. The theme is “Everybody wins when we know the facts about HIV and AIDS!”

The events are set up on a football field or open square, with a stage in the center. While our game show host runs four rounds of the game, our local partners conduct HIV counseling and testing in nearby tents. Now in its second year, “Everybody Wins!” is gaining momentum. With growing district leadership, the events now run all day and include local PEPFAR partners. These partners inform the community about locally-available services. Radio talk shows that air days before the event discuss health issues relevant to that population. The event also includes performances by drama groups and a parade through town to educate and raise awareness. For example, at our event in Kasese on November 17, over 300 people were tested for HIV and 10 local partners participated in the event, which ran from 9:00am to 5:30pm. Our game show host was the special guest for a one-hour local radio show that discussed HIV prevention.

Our second event, held in Kabale on November 19, drew a crowd of almost 6,000. This event now holds the record as our largest-ever crowd at an “Everybody Wins!” event. We had three local partners testing for HIV. Both events were lively and everyone seemed to have fun.

This year, we created a “U.S. Mission” tent to display and disseminate information about our projects and services in Uganda. The response so far has been tremendous. In addition to spreading some red-white-and-blue goodwill, we are able to satisfy the many requests for information about democracy, the Constitution, and President Obama. Uganda's presidential election is in less than three months, so the timing works well for our Mission-wide effort to support a free and fair election.

In addition, I am pleased to report that the success of our “Everybody Wins!” event is spreading across the continent. Recently, our game show host, Moses “Supercharger” Nsubuga, received a call from an NGO in Zambia. They asked if he would host “Everybody Wins!” in Lusaka for World AIDS Day. We have him booked solid for this year, but next year Moses is free to take the game outside Uganda so “everybody” can keep winning.

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